Toy Industry Crisis Likely To Grow, Says Brian Dobson of; Adds Regulatory Pressures, Consumer Skepticism May Develop

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"Crisis begets crisis," says Brian Dobson, whose has handled crisis communications, brand building and marketing PR for a variety of companies and industries. Mattel focused attention on an industry weakness in quality control and if news patterns follow suit, coverage is likely to spread throughout the toy industry with other toys examined, regulatory review notched up and public skepticism likely to emerge, Dobson says.

The entire toy industry is in crisis, ignited by a growing public perception of poor quality control as Mattel Inc. recalled toys found to have leaded paint and others with small magnets that could come loose during play. Dobson Communications President Brian Dobson said, "Mattel's crisis as the industry leader now spreads to every company in the toy business."

Dobson Communications ( specializes in building brand values and is expert in Crisis Communications and Marketing Public Relations for industries and institutions, including extensive experience in the children's entertainment and the toy industry.

Dobson said, "With about 80% of the toys sold in the United States made in China, the public expects U.S. safety standards to be met by imported goods. Profits from cheap production should result in better pricing and better quality control."

"Crisis begets crisis," said the public relations expert. "Today's crisis is consumer confidence and product recalls. Next, the industry may face more stringent regulatory standards and class action lawsuits. Also, as the important holiday toy selling season approaches, recalls will be fresh in shoppers' minds and a loss of core business to other forms of entertainment may occur."

Dobson said, "In business, you get what you inspect, not what you expect. The price of inexpensive labor can become abundantly high when a company losses brand value and image."

Dobson said, "Mattel focused attention on quality control and if news patterns follow suit, coverage and attention is likely to spread throughout the toy industry with other products examined, regulatory review notched up and public skepticism likely to grow before settling."

"Some children, especially younger ones, tend to put toys in their mouths while playing, so it's vital toy makers vigilantly enforce quality control to protect consumers," said Dobson, who is also a partner in Business Film Studios,, producers of product and company brand building videos.

He added, "Toy companies have built great reputations based on quality at great prices, but brand images are fragile and vulnerable to decline if crises are not handled properly and the public protected."

Dobson's public relations firm has managed communications of crises from product recalls to protect tampering to major lawsuits and quality issues to management failures. He is also expert in entertainment brand building, particularly for the children's entertainment sector. In 2004, he addressed the bi-annual China Culture Forum about what it takes to succeed in markets as in North America or Europe. He stressed attention to quality as vital to success."

Dobson's public relations company managed communications for gold-standard properties from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles during the 1990s to top hit Dragon Ball Z. The agency's represented Irwin Toy, when it was Canada's #1 toy company; Trendmasters during strong years and Happiness Express, when featured on the cover of Business Week. In the children's intellectual property industry, Dobson has represented top licensing and merchandising companies in the U.S. and Europe.

Dobson is a former journalist for both Dow Jones and Reuters, where he wrote the stock market commentary, and entered public relations at the New York Stock Exchange before heading public relations at two major corporations, including American Brands, then a Fortune 50, prior to opening his public relations agency.

Dobson Communications is based in Ridgefield, Connecticut and New York City with website at with a video wing is at

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Barbara Green

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